War on terrorism took an important place in the foreign policy of Reagan's administration, in administration of Bush (father) and in administration of democrat Clinton. First, the war on terrorism was directed against the spread of communism and pro-Soviet tendencies in the developing countries as the U.S.S.R. supported and aided Marxist insurgents who fought in Latin America and Arabs in the Middle East (Lebanon and Palestine).
Chomsky gives a clear image of the approach used by the U.S.A. And its NATO allies in description of their militarism: "Intelligent bombs" in Iraq, "humanitarian intervention" in Kosovo. The U.S.A. never used the word "war" to describe that. Now they are talking about war against a nameless enemy. Why? At first the U.S. used the word "crusade," but it was quickly pointed out that if they hope to enlist their allies in the Islamic world, it would be a serious mistake, for obvious reasons. The rhetoric therefore shifted to "war." The Gulf War of 1991 was called a "war." The bombing of Serbia was called a "humanitarian intervention," by no means a novel usage. That was a standard description of European imperialist ventures in the 19th century." (Chomsky, 9-11)
Chomsky writes that long before NATO the term "humanitarian intervention" was by Hitler when he annexed Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia, by Japan when they seized Manchuria and by Mussolini when he captured Ethiopia.
In recent practice after September 11, there existed a number of examples in actions of American administration, which can be regarded as acts of terror and violence against civilians. For example on September 16, NYT reported that the U.S.A. demanded from Pakistan: "the eliminated of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population"-the food that is keeping probably millions of people just this side of starvation" (John Burns, Islamabad, New York Times).
A very important fact should be also added about relations of the U.S.A. And Great Britain with Suddam Hussein in 1980's. Hussein's oil-rich Iraq was one of the most secular states in the Arab world; it was one of the most loyal regimes to interests of European powers and the U.S.A. Noam Chomsky writes that both USA and U.K. supported Hussein during his purges against religious and ethnic minorities, including gas attacks in Kurdistan.
All these facts witness about divergence of the U.S.A. aims in global politics and their means. Close cooperation of the U.S. with favorable regimes abroad, despite the fact that most of them are inhuman (for example Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others) only witnesses that principles of democracy, liberty and freedom, which are propagandized by the most developed countries of West, cannot be achieved on practice. There always appears a need to sacrifice anything in order to achieve good for chosen: exploitation of less developed countries with dependent economies is the price, which USA pays for the prosperity of its citizens. It has become quite obvious that principles of democracy and freedom in economy fail to work effectively in global scale, especially in the countries, which have their own interests, which may contradict to the interests of the U.S.A., U.K. And other powerful economies.
Today in the epoch of globalization and domination of international corporative business such contradictions look especially sharp, as energy resources which are vital for civilization's development are in the hands of countries which have different principles of development (Russian federation, Muslim world). In order to win this prolonged war it's enough to use financial power to subsidize opposition in these countries; even to support terrorists, which may destroy growing power and stability of these countries. Such practices were obviously used in Russia's war against its separatist province Chechnya. A number of questions in this war are still unsolved, and today no one will definitely say that this war was the war for independence from Russia. The key factor in this war was oil and money, but not the desire of Chechen people to become independent. The terrorism of Chechens is nearly always called as "actions of insurgents" in Western and even in American press, often these terrorists are called insurgents, despite the fact that they are financed by Al-Kaida. Such manipulations in media had become a common practice since the beginning of the Cold War.
For example Hallin (1993) writes that today's mass media is perhaps the only effective tool to promote hegemony in society. As example he demonstrates how only government approved media campaigns influenced the consciousness of Americans in 1950's and later spreading ideas of anti-communism and hatred to the U.S.S.R. As well as possible ideological support of terrorists. These campaigns in relatively quite 1950's had a lot of future consequences as manipulation of public opinion became easier: it was easy to mobilize young men against Vietnam only because they were communists, it was easy to aid Nicaraguan contras only because they were against Sandinistas Marxist regime. Such propaganda didn't cover another side of the conflicts, the side of how natives perceived the war. Today we can definitely say that both Americans and Soviets acted as colonists in these war, as they were aliens for natives who penetrated in their affairs and who cared only about personal corporative interests.
Making a conclusion, I would like to repeat the words of Noam Chomsky, who said that Gestapo's activity of Nazis was also directed only on the elimination of terrorism. Today, in the epoch of energy resources shortage and oil deficit, terrorists who are secretly sponsored by oil magnates of Arab world went out of control. And the tactics of American and British administrations directed on the manipulations of political preferences in the Middle East region had failed. Today the division of dictators on "our kind of guy' and "not our kind of guy" proposed by Bill Clinton doesn't work any more. Supporting terrorism directly or indirectly any nation becomes its target. Perhaps today it's already late to say that there is a possibility to win the war on terrorism. The U.S.A. And Western world already lost it, as terrorism had turned into the integral part of globalization processes such as oil issues, Middle East problem, national consciousness in the third world and drug traffic. The only possible solution in the prevention of its spread is to agree with legal rights of oppressed nations on territories and on other rights of self-determination, also to refuse from some economical benefits and interests in the developing countries:
Twenty years ago, the former head of Israeli military intelligence, Yehoshaphat Harkabi, also a leading Arabist, made a point that still holds true. "To offer an honourable solution to the Palestinians, respecting their right to self-determination - that is the solution of the problem of terrorism," he said. "When the swamp disappears, there will be no more mosquitoes." (Noam Chomsky, What Americans Have Learnt --and not Learnt-- Since 9/11 The Age, September 7, 2002)
Quite often the price which society has to pay as a result of military campaigns is quite higher than preventive actions and logical foreign policy, based on national interests, but not on corporative interests. Today's realities only serve as the best proof of it.
Mailer, Norman Why Are We At War? New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks 2003
Hallin, Daniel C. (1993). From Vietnam to El Salvador: Hegemony and Ideological Change. In We Keep America on Top of the World. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 58-86.
Chomsky, Noam What Americans Have Learnt --and not Learnt-- Since 9/11 The Age, September 7, 2002
Chomsky, Noam 9-11 Open Media, 2001
Chomsky, Noam How America Determines Friends and Foes, The Toronto Star March 14, 2004